Can I keep my house after divorce?

| Dec 8, 2020 | High Asset Divorce |

Buying a house is a significant financial and emotional investment. If you are going through a divorce, you might not be ready to say goodbye to that investment just yet. However, like many women in your situation, you probably have reservations about keeping the family home. The good news is that staying in the house might be more reasonable than you realize. Lower interest rates have made it easier for many women to keep their homes after divorce.

Although each woman in Minnesota will have her own unique reason for wanting to stay in the home, children often factor in. It is not uncommon for women to maintain primary custody or even have slightly more parenting time in joint custody situations. Mothers often express that staying in a familiar home is important for their children’s stability.

Can you afford the mortgage?

One of the first steps to deciding whether you can afford to stay in your marital home is to have it professionally appraised. House prices change over time, and an appraisal from even just a year ago may no longer be accurate. Even if you are fairly certain you know the value of your home, having a professional real estate appraiser provide the correct market value can effectively reduce or even eliminate arguments.

Securing a mortgage may be a hurdle if you earn significantly less than your ex or if you were not working at all during the marriage. Some lenders are hesitant to approve a borrower whose main source of income is child support and alimony payments. However, certain lenders offer niche loans for people in your exact situation. If you have a limited income but perhaps sizable assets from the divorce settlement, you could possibly still secure a loan.

What about the monthly costs?

The mortgage might be the largest single monthly expense for your home. However, it is far from the only expense you need to worry about. You should also be prepared to cover some of the following expenses:

  • Utilities
  • Maintenance and upkeep costs
  • Real estate taxes
  • Insurance

If you can reasonably cover these costs, you might also want to ask whether the house is a good investment. A home might provide a temporary emotional positive, but not work out financially in the long run. If a large chunk of your income goes toward the house, you might not have anything left to build up an emergency fund or save for retirement.

Is this what you want?

Divorce is an emotionally fraught process. You might start off thinking that keeping the house is a priority only to change your mind halfway through. This is perfectly understandable. For many women though, their desire to stay in the family home does not change.

If keeping the house is a priority, then you need to be prepared. This can be difficult when there are other matters to attend to during your divorce, like child custody, support orders and more. You may find it helpful to have an experienced advocate on your side. Working with a knowledgeable family law attorney may be your best option for making sure your rights and interests are upheld.